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  • Problem Tenants

    Tenant in arrears blocking direct UC payment

    Looking for help

    My tenant hasnt paid in 4 months and it transpires they are on Universal Credit which I never knew

    I filled the form in to get direct payment and was told no problem we will get payment to you

    Today I have had the tenant on the phone laughing saying 'Ive blocked direct payment and told them I have lots of repairs'

    I issued a NTQ 4 weeks ago

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    Dear Gethrey,

    You can not be blackmailed by the tenant.  What’s the position on obtaining direct payment?  You must serve a section 8 notice 14 days, a notice to quit is not the correct action.

    How long on the tenancy left? Beware the tenant may try and defend the action,  Have you carried out an inspection at the property, have you dealt with repairs or is this a made up allegation? 

    Obviously, we can help you at Landlord Action, we run 100s of cases with a qualified legal team and have experience of these type of issues.  Please do not hesitate to call our helpline on 0371 454 2513 to discuss.

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    Founder of Landlord Action and Brand Ambassador for Hamilton Fraser

    Hi Paul

    Many thanks for your reply

    I am in Scotland so NTQ so on a bit different up here

    UC basically said on the phone that payment would come to me, Ive called them today and they have said Tenant wont agree to this so the money going to Tenant ?

    I told them about arrears and they said theres nothing they can do as even if a tenant is in arrears they have to agree for the money to come to us

    Regards

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    Hi Gethrey

    I wish I had a £ for every time I've had to deal with this same issue.

    In December 2017 DWP removed the need for "explicit consent" in relation to APA requests.  It also issued a newsletter to its staff advising of the change and pointing out, from that point, the landlord's evidence had to be accepted under any of the Tier 1 provisions, with one exception; where the tenant can provide credible evidence contradicting the basis of the landlord's claim.

    Based on what you've said about your tenant's taunt, he has succeeded in duping DWP into believing that there a repair issues that haven't been addressed. Firstly, these allegations should be considered irrelevant to your application which is presumably based not only on the grounds of rent arrears, but the fact your tenant has already received and misused 4 months "housing costs element" paid to him as part of his UC award. Furthermore, DWP has, from what he claims, acted on his misrepresentations wihout giving you the chance to challenge this. That is contrary to the advice given to DWP's staff and needs to be pursued with its hierachy.

    I would direct a "1st Stage Complaint" to DWP's District Manager for your area. You can find his/her details here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-partnership-opportunities-with-jobcentre-plus/jobcentre-plus-district-managers-contacts-for-partnership-opportunities 

    Point to the fact you made application, using the UC 47 application; provided supporting evidence of rent arrears; tenant misuse of public funds; the likellihood of further delinquency if redirection is not agreed; and, mention his phone taunt. 

    Seek immediate suspension of the "housing costs element" in accordance with DWP's earlier commitments to me and its own internal guidance and confirm that if this does not happen you plan to pursue recompense for your loss.

    I'm responding to your post, on a Virgin train, heading for a County Court hearing in London, on this very topic. It's unlikely we'll secure a decision today but watch this space for future updates. We've already succeeded in securing a result in the Scottish Courts for one of my clients, in an almost identical case. However, whilst the UC regulations apply to the UK as a whole, there are differences in English court procedure which may hinder or prevent  success in England. We'll see!

    If you encounter any problems, please feel free to contact me for a bit of advice. If you do, remind me of your post.

    Bill


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